Plastid stromules: video microscopy of their outgrowth, retraction, tensioning, anchoring, branching, bridging, and tip-shedding

Protoplasma. 2005 Apr;225(1-2):33-42. doi: 10.1007/s00709-004-0073-3. Epub 2005 May 4.


Stromules are stroma-containing tubules which can grow from the surface of plastids, most commonly leucoplasts and chromoplasts, but also chloroplasts in some tissues. Their functions are obscure. Stills from video rate movies are presented here. They illustrate interaction of stromules with cytoskeletal strands and the anchoring of stromules to unidentified components at the cell surface. Anchoring leads to stretching and relaxation of stromules when forces arising from cytoplasmic streaming act on the attached, freely suspended plastid bodies. Data on stromule growth, retraction, and regrowth rates are provided. Formation and movement of stromular branches and bridges between plastids are described. The shedding of a tip region into the streaming cytoplasm is recorded in frame-by-frame detail, in accord with early observations.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology
  • Chloroplasts / physiology
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure
  • Cytoplasmic Streaming
  • Iris Plant / growth & development*
  • Iris Plant / physiology
  • Iris Plant / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Video
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Movement
  • Plastids / physiology
  • Plastids / ultrastructure*


  • Actins